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The Academic Hub of LSUS

December 08, 2017

The Academic Hub of LSUS
by Whitney Martin

The library is a place where many students go to study and find information needed for research papers, projects, etc. Here at LSUS, the Noel Memorial Library offers a multitude of services for students. Each floor of the library has something to offer whether it be research material, technology or a place to get some work done.

The first floor of the library offers a quiet and pristine environment for students who wish to study and work on assignments. It has computers, color copiers and study rooms for students to utilize. It contains the Research Service Desk where students can acquire assistance in finding information they need, as well as the Circulation Desk where items such as books, graphic calculators, and mini-projectors are checked out. The first floor is also home to the Student Success Center where students can receive help with tutoring, academic coaching, career assistance, and more.

“The first floor of the library reflects the library as the academic hub of the university. The Library’s Government Documents Collection is housed on this floor, which provides access to a large number of primary resources from the federal and state government. A lounge is available for students adjacent to the SSC, with the opening of a coffee shop on the horizon,” Brian Sherman, Dean of the Noel Memorial Library, said.

The primary service used by students is research assistance. Many students need help finding the right kind of information they seek. The library has an immense physical collection of scholarly material as well as a 24/7 online database. With the addition of several graduate programs, including the new online MBA program, interlibrary loan is also a popular service. The library strives towards promoting an exceptional place for all types of academic needs.

“Students make use of both the online and physical collection heavily, but interlibrary loan has increased with the addition of graduate programs that require obscure or rare research materials,” Sherman said. “Students also make use of the physical space, and oddly, as online programs grow on campus, the need of group space has grown parallel to this.”

The second floor of the library is where the main collection can be found, along with additional study rooms, a classroom, and lockers for students who may need a place to store their things. This floor contains a microform collection with various historical local papers as well.

The third floor of the library houses the Northwest Louisiana Archives and the vast Noel Collection of approximately 250,000 books. The archives holds around 23,000 linear feet of records and manuscripts, 200 oral histories, 800 maps and over 1.5 million photos and negatives chronicling the history of Northwest Louisiana, Shreveport, and the Ark-La-Tex. These documents and photos date back to the earliest known settlement to present day.

Across from the archives is the Noel Collection for which the library is named after. Noel spent much of his life accumulating the collection. There is no known answer for where much of the collection originated, but most of the material dates before the 1950s. The collection broadly ranges in genre and subjects, containing maps, prints, books, etc. With the collection comes an endowment, which allows the curator to obtain more items for the collection.

The name Noel comes from James Smith Noel, an educator, business man and avid book collector. James Smith Noel taught at Fair Park High School and Centenary College. Born in 1912, he came from a local distinguished family that invested in timber, real estate and oil and gas. His grandfather donated land where the Noel Methodist Church was built, and Noel grew up just a block over on Herndon.

Before LSUS became its home, the collection had several prospective homes when Noel was searching for somewhere to house it. Many institutions only offered to store a portion of the collection. Noel did not want to split his collection up, therefore, he waited to find someone who would take it in full. LSUS was the place that granted that request.

“LSUS agreed to keep all of it, but needed a space to house all of it,” Martha Lawler, cataloger and assistant librarian said. “The LSUS administration approached the state and asked that a new building be constructed. Because Mr. Noel and his collection were the inspiration for the building, it was named after him.”

Due to most of the collection containing older material, the preserving process is quite intricate. The environmental conditions must be sustained in order to keep each item intact. The items have to be cataloged and updated, which is available on LSUS’ website. Keeping a catalog of everything allows scholars, students and anyone interested to look up the collection from anywhere in the world.

“Mr. Noel intended for the collection to be used and usage of the collection is strongly encouraged. However, since most of the material was printed before the 1950s, special care and consideration is used,” Lawler said. “It is a balancing act, but one that provides many rewards. The collection is not only available for use by current students and researchers, but, with careful handling, it will be available for the future, as well.”

For more information on Mr. Noel or the collection, please visit: http://www.jsnoelcollection.org/.

 
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